Valley First

Expert says summer travellers need to think more broadly about insurance coverage

July 22, 2016

Penticton, B.C.—British Columbians are inclined to think about insuring their toys rather than themselves when it comes to preparing for summer vacation.

“Many individuals don’t consider insurance protection beyond their recreational vehicles when they’re planning on a trip within their province of residence or their own country,” says Karen Edge, manager at Valley First Insurance, a division of First West Insurance Services Ltd.

Even if you don’t plan on going far for your vacation, Edge says there are some important aspects to consider before hitting the road. Even small trips require planning ahead to ensure your family and your possessions are protected.

“People often have misconceptions when it comes to their medical coverage,” says Edge. “Your B.C. Medical Services Plan will cover you within your home province, but travellers need to be aware that your provincial coverage may not pay for all medical costs incurred outside your province of residence. The province of B.C. strongly advises that residents purchase additional health insurance before leaving the province, even if they’re travelling within Canada.”

Edge recommends checking the expiry date on your insurance policies and driver’s license before leaving for any length of time. Insurance can be renewed up to 55 days before your insurance expires and your driver’s license can be renewed as early as six months prior to expiry. She also says vacationers should pay special mind to towing vehicles and trailers.

“If there is no insurance on either the towing vehicle or the trailer, it automatically voids the insurance on the other vehicle.”

And then there’s the matter of the empty nest while you’re away.

“Not many homeowners are aware that most home insurance policies include a clause regarding the amount of time your home can be unoccupied,” says Edge. “It differs greatly from policy to policy so it’s a good idea to check with your insurance provider, prior to leaving, to ensure you’re meeting the requirements of your policy. Ultimately, having someone house-sit or visit your home daily while you’re gone is a good rule of thumb to follow.”

About Valley First

Valley First is a premier provider of banking, investment and insurance services for residents and businesses in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with 54 branches and 38 insurance offices throughout the province, Valley First brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. For more information on Valley First, visit

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